After 40 years, is the Seward Park Urban Renewal Area (SPURA) finally going to, well, be renewed? Maybe! After much back-and-forth it appears that Community Board 3 is nearly in agreement over what should happen to the largest patch of undeveloped city-owned land south of 96th Street. That is, unless the ever-present State Assembly speaker Sheldon Silver decides he doesn't like what ever they come up with.

If you've ever gone down Delancey Street towards the Williamsburg bridge and looked South, you've seen the mess of parking lots that is the SPURA site. The troubles began in 1967 when the city razed 14 blocks of tenements and kicked 2,000 residents to the curb in order to make way for new stores and buildings. But community opposition quickly took hold and decades later five large parcels still remain undeveloped.

Different parts of the neighborhood want different things: parks, stores and low-income housing. The current proposal would include all three with commercial and residential buildings interspersed with parks and with about half of the proposed 1,000 rental units going to middle, moderate and low income residents (with priority possibly going to those still around who were ousted in the 60s).

Lots of details have to be worked out still, but the CB3 members seem to think they are close. “This is the furthest it’s ever come,” said Dominic Pisciotta, chairman of Community Board 3 told the Times. They hope to have a final plan by mid-January.

Of course that is when the real test will come. Like every other big building project downtown the SPURA plan will need approval from Shelly Silver, and, well, that might be problem as his bread-and-butter voters are in the nearby co-ops which have been a major factor in the stalling of the development for all these years. So until the board finishes he is keeping his thoughts on the project under wraps...